The Dystopian Novel That Wasn’t

I toyed with the idea of writing dystopian fiction. I had a plot in mind, a set of main characters, and the major events that would set the plot in motion.

The first draft was junk. Trash. The dialogue was stilted, narrative felt forced, and basically, it was a piece of crap. I didn’t hit delete (I could have, easily), but I set aside my lousy work in a Draft One folder and started over.

This time, I thought and thought hard about what attracts me to this genre. It’s not the disasters, it’s not the End of the World philosophy, but more the survival aspect. How do people cope? How far will they go to feed the family and keep them safe? What kind of teamwork or individualism seems to be most common? Most successful? And finally, perspective. How do I hear this story in my head, and how can I pass that on to my readers?

I started again with these elements in mind. And then, I had to quit. Again. For good, most likely.

My plot premise was turning out to be too close to truth. I had an election in mind with a candidate who couldn’t take losing. This candidate would lose by a landslide, and then he (wouldn’t be she, that’s for sure) would announce that the system was rigged. Sound familiar? At this point, the loser would call for his followers to riot in the streets. His followers, most of whom lacked the ability to think independently, would follow directions and start the craziness.

I think I’ll still to nonfiction. The dark underside of this election is truly frightening.

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2 thoughts on “The Dystopian Novel That Wasn’t

  1. If you’re looking to read a great dystopian book about survival, may I recommend “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel (I think I got the author right). FABULOUS on all counts.
    Writing fiction is HARD. Good job trying, maybe give it another go next summer?

    • Fiction structure is totally different from the informational articles and posts I write for work. Maybe next summer! I kept the outline.

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